Here at She’s Independent, we focus heavily on the gender equity gap in investing, but it’s not just women that the white patriarchy affects when it comes to financial well-being. In a 2018 survey by Experian, 62% of LGBTQ+ respondents said they had experienced financial problems because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. A survey from Proud Ventures found that 75% of LGBTQ+ startup founders and 79% of investors conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity as 18% of those respondents felt it would harm fundraising efforts.
On our June Conversation Series, we were honored to host David Auten and John Schneider, personal finance authors, bloggers and speakers for DebtFreeGuys, and hosts of the Queer Money podcast. With over thirty-five years of combined experience in finance as well as personal experience with the economic nuances for LGBTQIA+ members, they offered up valuable insight for our community. Catch the full conversation here or keep reading to learn more about representation gaps and the steps we can take as a society to close them!
Did you know…“Only 44% of LGBTQ+ members invest outside of their retirement accounts” and are more likely to prioritize saving for homes or family planning, while heterosexual are prioritizing paying off debt and investing (Forbes).
Let that sink in. While this is an alarming statistic, it is just one of many that reflect the significant disparity of minority representation for this community in the investing arena. So why? According to David and John, here are some of the main causes:
LGBTQIA+ individuals are less likely to receive financial support from their families for college, cars, home purchases, etc., while many heterosexual millennials still receive such assistance. Therefore, the money that they might alternatively be saving or investing, is going towards other important commodity purchases.
Many members seek refuge and community in bigger (more expensive) cities that are LGBTQIA+ friendly. Residing in these high-cost locations further strains financial resources, forcing individuals to prioritize essential needs over future-forward financial actions.
There is an education gap when it comes to investing, which parallels the challenges experienced by women after divorce. Having not been exposed to or educated on anything beyond basic personal finance, it can be incredibly daunting for LGBTQIA+ members to seek guidance from established financial groups as they often lack representation and leave individuals feeling further excluded or misunderstood in their journeys.
Even today, it would be false to say that our society does not carry around heteronormative assumptions underlying financial advice and planning, perpetuating a one-size-fits-all approach that may not address the unique needs and experiences of minority groups. To bridge this gap, it is vital for financial institutions to adopt more inclusive and diverse perspectives, providing tailored education and support to make it easier for non-conforming individuals to navigate the financial landscape comfortably.
The barriers of entry to the Good Ol’ Boys Club and their effect on all minority communities:
In the realm of finance, the exclusive “Good Ol’ Boys Club” not only excludes women but also individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community. The golf course, bars, and similar environments serve as hubs for networking and socialization with so called “higher-ups”, providing opportunities to raise one’s profile, seek mentorship, sponsorship, career advancement, and access resources. Unfortunately, without a change in this dynamic, power remains concentrated in the hands of white, straight men in positions of power grooming individuals who mirror their own identities, disregarding the vast pool of talented individuals outside the conventional norms. Consequently, minority groups, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, face marginalization in higher-ranking positions within companies. The prevailing notion of the “ideal candidate,” upheld by higher-ups, cascades through organizations, thereby hindering the progress of minorities and relegating them to lower-level roles. A transformative shift is imperative to foster a more inclusive and equitable financial landscape for all.
Rainbow Washing: what it is and why it is harmful.
Rainbow Washing, a term often associated with Pride Month, refers to the deceptive marketing practice of organizations capitalizing on the visibility and support of the LGBTQIA community for their own gain. It is crucial for organizations to recognize that the LGBTQIA+ community exists beyond a single month or event. Performative advertising should be avoided, not just during Pride Month but throughout the year. Building trust and genuine support requires a long-term commitment, as it takes time for members of the community to believe that corporations’ efforts are sincere and aimed at serving their needs rather than making a superficial statement or checking a box. Investing in the LGBTQIA+ community goes beyond short-term gestures and requires ongoing dedication to fostering inclusion, representation, and equitable opportunities.
Financial well-being IS self-care.
Rather than viewing budgeting, learning about money, and managing finances as burdensome chores, we should recognize them as routine self-care to-do items that are integral to the long-term health of our overall well-being. Just like engaging in activities such as getting a massage, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing hobbies, taking care of our money can contribute to happiness, stress reduction, and personal growth. There is a great misconception that in order to break into the finance and investing arena, you must start off with tens of thousands of dollars and a college education’s worth of market knowledge. However, nowadays especially, this is simply not true.To support this shift, it’s important to explore resources that make financial education and management more accessible and engaging. Personal finance blogs, podcasts, and books offer a wealth of knowledge and practical advice on budgeting, investing, and building financial literacy. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
“Queer Money” Podcast
“Bad With Money” Podcast
“Financial Feminist” Podcast
Resources such as these can empower us to make informed decisions, set financial goals, and develop healthy financial habits. Moreover, incorporating financial self-care into our daily routine can lead to lifelong learning and personal development. It provides an opportunity to develop skills such as budgeting, saving, and investing, which are essential for long-term financial security.
At She’s Independent, we are lucky to have such a welcoming, inclusive, and empowering group of individuals that make up our community. No matter your identity, know that you are welcome here. Thank you for your engagement in June’s Conversation Series, be sure to stay tuned for next month’s speaker!